Iran and Inestimable Value of What it Achieved through Nuclear Talks

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Behzad Saberi, Ph.D., Expert in International Law and Politics

Has the recent resolution adopted by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency been positive and useful for Iran? The answer is certainly yes. As put by a seasoned Iranian diplomat, “As much as is possible, a country must not come under international executive and supervisory mechanisms, because if this happens, it would be very difficult to get out of those mechanisms, and if a country could do that, it would be a great achievement.” Since the first anti-Iran resolution was adopted by the Board of Governors on September 12, 2003, up to its resolution on September 13, 2012, our country was made subject to various international mechanisms in a step by step manner and with a relatively sharp upward slope. This course of events continued until a Board of Governors’ resolution on September 4, 2006, obligated the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to report Iran's nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council and also send forth all IAEA's reports on Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council. This was the worst thing that could happen in the course of seeing into a case by the Board of Governors.

As a result, and in later years, the Board of Governors, as a technical and specialized institution, was overshadowed by the Security Council and Iran's nuclear activities were officially considered as a threat to international peace and security. The same course of mounting pressures on Iran continued within the Security Council. At first, a “Presidential Statement” was adopted and after that, the Security Council officially took up Iran's case through adoption of Resolution 1696. By and by, unprecedented sanctions were imposed against our country through Security Council Resolution 1929. The main goal of the nuclear negotiations under Iran's eleventh administration was to dismantle the mechanism of pressure and sanctions used by this complicated international organization without backing down on the Iranian Establishment’s principles and red lines, and take Iran's case back to normal in a step by step manner. The most important principle for Iran was to maintain its independence and not giving in to those demands that in Iran's view lacked any legal or just basis. Perhaps, if it were not for foreign pressures, our country, like many other technical and economic issues, would have decided to meet part of its nuclear needs from outside the country during past years, so that the nuclear program would be more economical.

It is also possible that due to breakthroughs in science and development of more modern and cleaner technologies, such as solar and wind energy, our country would decide in future to totally give up the use of the nuclear energy. Nonetheless, all these steps will be meaningful when they are taken on the basis of a domestic will. However, if such a decision is dictated by foreign countries or is taken following decisions by others, it would damage independent state of the country and mean that the government has backed down on people’s rights. Let’s not forget that in late October 2013, a long time before the achievement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and concurrent with serious talks between Iran and the six world powers in the Swiss city of Geneva, Saudi Arabia, which had become a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council through extensive efforts and lobbying, issued a statement to announce that it had changed its mind about being a member of the Security Council.

In its statement, Saudi Arabia mentioned failure of the Security Council in “preventing efforts by regional countries to produce nuclear weapons” as a reason for “inability of the Security Council to fulfill its duties and responsibilities.” In other words, from the viewpoint of this country and other countries that had a similar way of thinking with Saudi Arabia, the fact that the Security Council had failed after a number of years to impose its viewpoint on Iran and instead of insisting on unquestioning implementation of the Security Council resolutions, the permanent members of the Council had started negotiations with Iran to find a “mutually acceptable solution” to Iran's nuclear issue, was considered as a major defeat for the Security Council and its members and a big victory for Iran. This point was underlined by all non-Iranian opponents of the negotiations. Finding a “mutually acceptable” solution has not been a routine part of the Security Council’s procedure. The Security Council usually gives orders and others have to body those orders.

The fact that five permanent members of the Security Council, which wield veto right, in addition to Germany, which has demand a permanent seat at the Council, have sit at the negotiating table with a country – that in their view is in violation of the Security Council’s decisions – in order to reach a mutually acceptable solution, which would also take into account Iran's viewpoints, is of the utmost importance. In addition to JCPOA, the Security Council stopped its sanctions against Iran, excluded Iran's nuclear case from Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and is considering a process to officially remove Iran's nuclear case from its agenda without Iran having complied with its resolutions, which among other things called for total suspension of all nuclear activities of the country. More importantly, the Iranian government, which was the direct target of the Security Council’s sanctions and punitive measures, was allowed to take part in drawing up the text of the new resolution that was later adopted by the Security Council. This course of events has been an unprecedented development and an extraordinary procedure in the system of the UN Security Council.

After these two steps, the next step to dismantle international executive mechanisms against Iran was to close the case of accusations leveled against Iran at IAEA. The importance of the latest resolution adopted by IAEA Board of Governors is that before this resolution, the Board of Governors had on its agenda a topic, which consisted of a series of accusations and allegations about Iran having violated the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NTP) and the Safeguards Agreement with IAEA. The big development of which everybody has been talking after the conclusion of JCPOA was that with its new resolution, IAEA removed this issue from its Iran agenda and, instead, has focused on verification of the implementation of a document, which has been agreed to by Iran and is the outcome of negotiations in which Iran has been able to meet its demands. Therefore, this time around, attention to Iran's demand is playing its important part again. This is not an insignificant achievement. Naturally, big powers are not willing to see the result of Iran's refusal from complying with the decisions of powerful international institutions to set a precedent.

For this reason, the text of the Security Council resolution had clearly noted that JCPOA and its contents should not be considered as a precedent for other countries. Also, before closing the case of the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) with regard to Iran's nuclear program, the IAEA Board of Governors noted in its report that the Board “Affirms in  this  regard  that  the  Agency's  verification  and  monitoring  of  Iran's  nuclear-related commitments as set out in the JCPOA should not be considered as setting a precedent for the IAEA's standard verification practices, and further affirms that it shall not be interpreted so as to conflict with or alter in any way the Agency's right and obligations to verify compliance by States with Safeguards Agreements and where appropriate Additional Protocols and to report to the Board as appropriate.” The passage of time will prove that from now on, in order to prevent spread of the nuclear know-how – especially with regard to uranium enrichment and the nuclear fuel cycle – the big powers will use all means at their disposal to stand against any kind of effort made by other countries to enter this field, so that, no other case like that of Iran will be ever repeated.

Key WordsIran, Value, Nuclear Talks, Resolution, Board of Governors, International Atomic Energy Agency Security Council, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Saudi Arabia, Non-Proliferation Treaty (NTP), Safeguards Agreement, Verification, Implementation Possible Military Dimensions (PMD), Saberi 

Source: Shargh Daily
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

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